The Watch Nerd’s Guide To The Tourbillon

Tourbillon Watches: An Expert Guide

A whirlwind look at watchmaking’s mythical complication

Image: IWC

By Alex Doak

Do you wear a modern mechanical wristwatch? If so, your pride and joy probably benefits from a clear caseback, perfect for answering those detractors arguing that the words ‘modern’ and ‘mechanical wristwatch’ have no place in the same sentence. Unstrap your watch, flip it over and beguile these heartless robots with a microscopic spectacle of springs, levers and cogs – a joyous anachronism that couldn’t be more essential in our disposable digital age.

You can take such pleasure with an automatic Tissot costing as little as £500. But for 100 times that buck, your horological bang gets a whole lot, er, bangier, thanks to a little thing called a tourbillon (‘whirlwind’ in French). For a start, you don’t have to unstrap your watch to show off the micro-mechanics – this flea-circus merry-go-round sits proudly on your dial for everyone to see. A carousel, tumbling the ticking escapement over and over in a mesmerising display of technical prowess.

You can wax lyrical about its 19th-century purist horological origins (which we will, below), but these days the tourbillon purely serves to embody ‘mechanical’ in an unashamedly extravagant fashion. It’s a spinning podium, rising from the stage in a billow of dry ice, feathered showgirl twirling on top. And every luxury watch brand, from Audemars Piguet to Zenith, would never dare not to include their own version in their catalogues.

Zenith Toubillon WatchZenith Toubillon

“Chronographs or GMTs or divers may have usefulness and tactile engagement,” says Kyron Keogh, CEO of ROX jewellers, whose portfolio includes tourbillon brands Audemars, Chopard, Hublot and TAG Heuer, “but tourbillons are a tiny work of kinetic art on your wrist, which you can admire at any time.

“Of course, like a Rolls-Royce or Bentley, you’re joining a highly exclusive club – but unlike certain examples of those cars, no one will ever begrudge you your tourbillon. In fact, as a conversation piece, you can’t beat it.”

Frivolities aside, a tourbillon really is worth its price tag. Irishman Stephen McGonigle has made his name in Switzerland as a high complications gun for hire, and together with brother John, their eponymous indie brand does a sublime take on the tourbillon as art form (pictured below). Even he is still in awe of the tourbillon’s challenges:

“Without question, it’s the work and skill from the watchmaker that affects the cost,” says McGonigle. “Despite their similarity to a basic ‘time-only’ mechanism, the escapement components are much smaller and constantly moving, so very tough to assemble and far more difficult to adjust.”

McGonigle Toubillon WatchMcGonigle Toubillon

The History

When universally lauded ‘forefather of modern watchmaking’ Abraham-Louis Breguet first patented his tourbillon, or ‘whirlwind’ invention in 1801 (his submission to the French office pictured below) it wasn’t to show off his virtuoso watchmaking skills, as the tourbillon does now – it was to address a genuine problem plaguing pocket watches at the time.

As with mechanical movements today, the basic principle is that a geartrain feeds power from the winding barrel into the ‘escapement’ regulating organ. Tick for the tock for the tick, a lever locks and unlocks the escape wheel, eking out the flow of power, its rate governed by the oscillation of a ‘balance wheel’ – the breakneck equivalent of a grandfather clock’s pendulum.

With a pocket watch however, tucked away in your waistcoat all day, its pendulous balance wheel is constantly upright, so gravity constantly ‘squashes’ the spiral hairspring it’s mounted on. Watchmakers at the time could only adjust for a certain amount of error, and after a while timekeeping would go awry.

Breguet's tourbillon patentBreguet’s tourbillon patent

Breguet’s stroke of genius was using the geartrain not only to power the ticking escapement, but also to spin the whole assembly over and over by 360 degrees every minute. Gravity’s ‘squash’ of the balance spring is therefore evened-out over every angle. In wristwatch form of course, brushing your teeth and waving for the bus is enough to keep the balance wheel constantly reoriented, hence the tourbillon evolving into its modern guise as a rather pointless but beautiful badge of horological honour.

As with so many flashy things, the prominently exposed, dial-side tourbillon in wristwatch form only really got going in the eighties. Indie pioneer Franck Muller claims the first-ever in 1984, but then Audemars Piguet debuted the first-ever self-winding tourbillon in 1986, then Blancpain made a classical version, and then the floodgates were open…

From Breguet’s first prototype in 1795 right up to the seventies, less than 1,000 tourbillons had been made. Today, that figure is more like 3,000 to 3,500 a year. And the spectrum couldn’t be wilder in variety, from a Chinese Sea-Gull for £3,260 to a starting price of €300,000 at Greubel Forsey.

The first Breguet tourbillonThe first Breguet tourbillon

How Does A Tourbillon Work?

A traditional watch movement sends its power straight from the winding barrel to the locking and unlocking lever mechanism of the escapement, which ekes out the going rate of the intermediary geartrain, to which the hours, minutes and seconds hands are attached. With a tourbillon watch however, the geartrain sends the power first to the tourbillon cage, which houses the whole escapement assembly. The cage rotates on top of a fixed gear wheel, which passes power to the escapement inside via a pinion attached to the cage, allowing it to tick away as usual. Still with us?

“The cage, which is the ‘heart’ of the mechanism, is the toughest part to assemble,” says Stephen McGonigle, “but there are so many other subtleties from one calibre to the next. For example, when we were designing our tourbillon, it was important for us to have the cage as light as possible. Not just for aesthetic reasons but a light cage is also beneficial for the timing, reducing the inertia of the cage.

“The architecture of the tourbillon can also differ greatly,” he continues, “how the cage is held in place, for example. It can have one or more arms holding it to the mainplate of the mechanism. There are even tourbillons that appear to ‘fly’, as they are held from underneath.”

Vacheron Constantin Tourbillon WatchVacheron Constantin Tourbillon

What To Consider When Buying One

So you want to buy a tourbillon? Congratulations on your wad of disposable cash. And your discerning taste in watches, it goes without saying…

The necessarily difficult manufacture of these horological specimens fairly guarantees the veracity of whoever’s in line to receive your tens-of-thousands of pounds, as long as they’re a well-known name from either Switzerland or Germany’s village of Glashütte (home to A. Lange & Söhne and Glashütte Original). But as with most luxury purchases, the value proposition boils down to the degree of human intervention – CNC machining versus painstaking, steady-handed toil; off-the-peg design versus avant-garde technological envelope-pushing.

Omega Tourbillon WatchOmega Tourbillon

And these are all interchangeable values; Richard Mille, for example, CNC mills its futuristically architectural tourbillons out of titanium and carbon fibre, but the hand-assembly couldn’t be more nerve wracking and delicate, especially with the ever-present danger of scratching PVD-coated bridges.

“When it comes to making your decision,” says Keogh, “obviously, a decent budget is necessary, but do bear in mind that budget can soar astronomically when it comes to tourbillons. TAG’s recent £12,000 tourbillon is exceptionally good value of course, almost unbelievably so [see below]. But fifty grand can still get you something very interesting – Bell & Ross’s new sapphire-block BR-X2 for example…

“And that’s the thing,” he concludes, “don’t buy for the sake of it, buy a tourbillon that captures your imagination beyond the mechanism alone. It’s a big outlay for something so whimsical, so prepare to pay a bit more to secure the tourbillon that reflects your particular whims!”

Omega Tourbillon WatchOmega Toubillon

TAG Heuer

A TAG Heuer watch for £12,100, which isn’t hewn from gold or studded with diamonds, sounds particularly keen for the purveyor of accessible luxury. But when you realise it’s a tourbillon, Swiss examples of which generally start at around £50,000, the question turns from ‘what the hell?’ to ‘how in God’s name?’

Well, there’s no shortage of technical know-how at chez TAG, but the pricetag comes down to clever business, and it doesn’t come much cleverer than CEO Jean-Claude Biver. The outspoken industry legend reveals that, simply put, they took the hit on what would normally be a £28,000 mark-up. “By taking the normal margin that we would make on a £600 watch, we could do a tourbillon at this price point,” he says. A lost revenue stream perhaps, but we’re all still talking about it, which makes it one of TAG’s cheapest marketing campaigns for a while…

TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre Tourbillon Chronograph

Breguet

The name should be enough for most. It was, after all, Abraham-Louis Breguet who invented the tourbillon back in 1795, patenting it in 1801 – a conceit so perfect from the outset that everyone still does it like he did. But while some might quibble over the pedigree of today’s Breguet The Brand – owned by Switzerland’s megalithic Swatch Group since 1999 – the nous that typified Monsieur Breguet’s work back in Paris has been well and truly restored.

In respect to the old craft, but also in keeping with the old master’s cutting-edge thinking, they’re combining silicon technology with dials still guilloché-engraved using 19th-century lathes, just as he would have done. If he’d happened to have had dry-reactive ion etching technology at his disposal.

Breguet Classique Automatic Platinum Silver Dial Mens Watch

A. Lange & Söhne

Switzerland has the Jura mountains: chocolate-box pretty in the literal sense, home to most of the world’s finest watchmakers. In Saxony’s Ore mountains, you’ll find the rest of them, only crammed into a single pfefferkucken-box-pretty village: Glashütte. Here, the virtuoso of German watchmaking was always Adolph Lange’s eponymous brand, established to take advantage of the region’s out-of-work miners in the 19th century.

Russian bombs and the Iron Curtain might have spelt actual curtains, but thanks to Adolph’s great-grandson and the backing of the mighty Richemont Group, Lange has re-established itself in the 28 short years since the fall of the Berlin Wall as a force to be reckoned with. Up there with Patek Philippe. As for its tourbillons? For an industrialised set-up, they don’t come finer.

A.Lange & Söhne 1815 Tourbillon

Jaeger-LeCoultre

There’s a French word that watch snobs like to use: ‘manufacture’. Not as a verb, but a noun, demarcating each of Switzerland’s handful of true, verticalised, self-sufficient watch factories. Patek Philippe rules the pyramid, followed by the other four: Audemars Piguet, Girard-Perregaux, Vacheron Constantin and Jaeger-Le-Coultre. Recent third-party acquisitions aside, it’s the latter who can rightfully wield 100-percent-in-house bragging rights, short of an alligator farm for their leather straps.

So of course they make tourbillons. Extraordinarily complicated ones in the case of the Gyrotourbillon – a slow-motion gyroscopic astronaut trainer for the wrist. And also extraordinarily good value ones in the case of the Master Tourbillon – a true ‘manufacture’ example, beautifully hand-polished, for little over the industry’s usual starting price.

Master Grand Tourbillon Enamel

Greubel Forsey

“Even in 1999, we thought the tourbillon was overused and abused,” Stephen Forsey tells us. “A tourbillon is fine in a pocket watch, but putting it in a wristwatch is like putting a car engine in an aeroplane – completely different conditions.”

And thus, the founding tenet of Greubel Forsey was forged: essentially, ‘tourbillons are pointless in wristwatches, so we’re going to give them a point’. Now part-owned by Richemont, boasting over 100 employees, but only making – get this – a little over 100 watches a year, an Englishman from St Albans and his French partner have succeeded in proving the tourbillon is still capable of improving timekeeping precision in a wristwatch, through some mind-bending, multi-axis mechanical gymnastics (their watches look like miniature adventure playgrounds), all hand-finished to a level unsurpassed by anyone else.

Tourbillon 24 Secondes

Bulgari

Yes, Bulgari – as in the bold and the beautiful Roman jeweller, so beloved of divas like Elizabeth Taylor in the sixties. Recently however, all things horological have been ramping up in Switzerland, with the acquisition of some top-flight tweezer-wielding facilities (one of them, Gérald Genta, was the genius behind Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak).

The result is the blossoming Octo collection – arguably the most successful contemporary watch design of our time, every case a symphony of 110 overlapping facets, milled from a single block of metal. In wafer-thin ‘Finissimo’ guise, Octo has now notched off three records: world’s slimmest manual-wind tourbillon (5mm top to bottom), world’s thinnest minute repeater (6.85mm) and last year the thinnest automatic (5.15mm). Liz would’ve loved them all.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Squelette

Bell & Ross

What do the French navy’s fighter pilots, the Paris Gendarmerie’s armed R.A.I.D. squad, some industrial divers and a shedload of moneyed hipsters all have in common? Why, Bell & Ross of course. The Parisian-but-Swiss-made brand conceived in the nineties as a no-nonsense ‘tool watch’ brand for professionals was snapped up by Chanel before you could say ‘voila’. And while the fashion giant claims no interference, the evolution of the watchmaker’s minimalist, monochrome aesthetic (ring any bells?) into severely chic territory is a coincidence you can’t ignore.

The early brutalism of Bell & Ross’s monumentally square ‘Instrument’ range had enough shock tactics to impress those R.A.I.D chaps, but has now settled into a curious incubator for artistic expermentalism – underpinned by genuine military kudos. Its BR X2 is a frivolous tourbillon, sure, but look at how it’s presented: raw and industrial, enclosed by a sapphire-crystal chamber – like a crashlanded UFO, tethered to an Area 51 testbed.

Bell and Ross BR X2 Tourbillon watch

Audemars Piguet

As one of the ‘Big Five’ manufactures, AP naturally boasts several tourbillons in its canon – most spectacularly in its 25th-anniversary Royal Oak Offshore Openworked Tourbillon Chronograph. Not so much ‘openworked’ as blasted into concave constructivist futurism. Such bleeding-edge mechanical wizardry is usually down to the brand’s show-off side projects, whose client list includes Richard Mille, and whose alumni number aforementioned Messieurs Greubel et Forsey.

But as far back as 1986, AP quietly broke ground with the calibre 2870. Not only was it the first automatic tourbillon, framed by a gaudy gold sunray case very much ‘of its time’, but to this very day it remains the slimmest ever made, standing just 4.8mm tall. And that was 1986, when CAD and CNC machines were the stuff of science fiction. Quite the tourbillon calling card, wouldn’t you say?

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak xl tourbillon chronograph

Patek Philippe

A cursory flick through the catalogue of Geneva’s favourite son – Patek Philippe if you hadn’t already guessed – reveals one particularly glaring omission: a tourbillon. Surely the world’s most revered watchmaker and holder of virtually every auction record going is capable of making a tourbillon? Well of course it is, but unlike everyone else (and despite those ubiquitous print ads) Patek is humble when it comes to horology.

Humble and stoically traditional, choosing to keep its tourbillons tucked away behind their dials. The purist reason being that UV light accelerates the degradation of the delicate lubricants in the escapement when it’s exposed. The practically lady-like 37mm ‘5539G-010’ is the only tourbillon reference in the current line-up, but it’s not entirely stealth wealth – there’s always a handy ‘TOURBILLON’ label where the cage would normally be spinning.

Patek Philippe

Hublot

Back in the mid-noughties, everyone had a tourbillon. They were falling out of cereal packets. And that’s because the pre-crash watch market was drunk on its own relevance – horology was back, baby, and everyone deserves a bulbous cocktail of mad mechanics ruining their French cuff. That democratisation of elite ‘savoir-faire’ was largely down to an outfit called BNB Concept – off the peg haute complications, assembled by board-shorted kids in labcoats. Old school dun nu skool.

Of course, BNB collapsed in 2009, while every watchmaker took a cold shower and returned to making elegant timepieces. But one brand going places, Hublot, was clever enough to snap up half of BNB’s thrusting talent, a lot of their state-of-the-art machinery, and assert itself instantly as an in-house tourbillon maestro. The rest has certainly been deserving of the history books, as, away from the ruthless marketing campaigns, mopping up supermodels, footballers and hip-hop moguls, the technical prowess chez Hublot is second to none.

HUBLOT Tourbillon Bi-Axis titanium watch

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18 Hacks For Looking Good From Professional Stylists

18 Hacks For Looking Good From Professional Stylists

Clothes don’t fit? Just spotted a stain? Don’t stress, with these make-do-and-mend tricks that will ensure your look’s always front cover-ready

By FashionBeans Editors

Who’d be a stylist? While the clothes horse gets the plaudits, it’s the hands off-camera that pick out what they wear, tweak a jacket to fit perfectly and spot-fix stains caused by an upended glass.

In short, a stylist’s trade is to make a messy reality look perfect; and for that, they need some serious tricks. So we asked the names behind some of the world’s best-dressed men to reveal the pro-level style hacks all guys can replicate at home.

Safety Pins Can Replace A Tailor

Much like being a barber or bricklayer, the job of being a stylist comes with its own tools of the trade. For Daisy Deane, who has dressed Tinie Tempah, Taron Egerton and Stormzy, safety pins are the most important.

“If you pop a button, rip your jeans, or have a hole in an inappropriate place, they come in handy,” she says. Just pin from the inside, so your fix is invisible. Unless you want to channel your inner punk.

Clothes Can Be Stretched

Any man who’s had a fight with the washing machine (and lost) knows it’s possible to shrink clothes. But they can also go the other way. “Shoes often don’t fit on shoots,” says Deane. “But if you take the branded insert out, they instantly go up a size.”

For sweatshirts, T-shirts or jackets, take advantage of the fabric’s natural give. “Get someone else to hold one end and stretch at the seams together, pulling from both ends, so it keeps its shape but expands in size. Another trick is to steam or iron a cotton T-shirt; the fibres expand in the heat and will mould onto your body shape.”

Clothes can be stretched, if you know how

Don’t Let Old Clothes Dye The Death

All it takes is one wrong move with a cup of coffee or the emergence of yellow pit stains to take the white T-shirt from a style hero to a wardrobe zero. But all might not be lost. “Don’t throw away your old washed-out white T-shirts,” says River Island stylist Jordan Alexander. “Bring them back to life by bleaching them.”

Fill a bowl with 1/4 cup of bleach per gallon of water and leave your sullied staples to soak. Then rinse clean, dry and stand back to admire your handiwork.

Refresh Your Wardrobe In 10 Minutes

Keeping your style fresh is a time-consuming (and expensive) task, but doing so doesn’t always have to involve buying more stuff. “Patches and pin badges are the ultimate way to customise anything, and they can be removed,” says Kitty Cowell, a go-to stylist for Nike, ASOS and Urban Outfitters.

The technique is one also used by River Island’s Alexander. “Update your old trousers for the new season by cropping them yourself. Turn up the trouser to the desired length, mark them and then cut with a pair of scissors. Use a lighter to burn off the frayed edging or leave them for a distressed look.”

Patches and pins can instantly refresh your existing pieces

Cheat The Perfect Arm Length

We’ve all been there. You left it too late to buy a suit for that upcoming wedding and now your tailor’s fully booked. No stress, says menswear image consultant (and the man behind David Gandy’s impeccable style), Joe Ottaway.

“If the blazer’s arm is too short, choose a similar coloured roll neck or shirt to wear underneath, giving the illusion of correct sleeve length. At a later date you can have it tailored correctly.”

Nonchalance Works The Camera

Instagram-happy mates mean you can’t always prepare for the camera, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “The best way to pull off a great pose is to look natural,” says Ottaway, a street style legend himself. “Act like you’re not even aware of the camera; hands in pocket, with a natural ease while strolling gives a timelessly stylish image.”

To highlight your suit’s silhouette and the suppressed waist it creates, try the ‘teapot’. “When being photographed, arch your arm at a soft right angle,” he says. “This helps showcase and accentuate the sharp lines of a suit.”

Joe Ottaway with David Gandy

Fake A Fit Body

Far from just being things you throw on to avoid getting arrested, clothes can change the entire appearance of your body. If you know how. “Work with your body, not against it,” says Natalia Keet, who has styled campaigns for J.Crew, House of Fraser and Hugo Boss. “Layering breaks up your frame, so try a jacket with a waistcoat. Make sure it’s a good fit with no bulging buttons. A scarf or slim tie is another trick to slim down your look.”

To shed a few more pounds, find your best side. “Stand at an angle to the camera, so the width of your body looks slimmer,” says Alexis Knox, a name well-known to stars like Bruno Mars and Miguel. “Put one leg out in front of you, as it lengthens that leg, making you appear taller.”

Step Out Sharp

Style, like the devil, is in the detail. So before you leave the house, it’s always worth having one last check that you look sharp. “When you put trousers on, shove your hands into the pockets and spread them out so they aren’t all bunched, and make sure the seam or ribbing of your socks is going straight,” says Deane.

“If wearing a T-shirt or shirt on under a jacket, tug the underneath layer into the shoulder and down the sleeve to stop the jacket bringing your top up at the front. These are the little secrets that make you look well put together.”

The little details make your look

Get Steaming

The merits of a pair of suede shoes can’t be overstated, but they’re not exactly a breeze to keep looking fresh. Thankfully, there’s a solution.

“Revive worn or scuffed suede shoes by steaming them over the kettle,” explains Sarah Gilfillan, founder of personal styling consultancy Sartoria Lab. “Rub them over with your hand or a soft brush while holding them over the steam to reinvigorate them.” Once you’re done, simply leave them to air dry, and you’ll be good to go.

That’s Pinteresting

No guy wants to fall into a style rut, and because our tastes change over time, there are endless benefits to taking stock of your wardrobe before hitting the shops for a refresh.

“My advice is to use Pinterest to create a mood board before you start,” says Daniel Johnson, who specialises in overhauling men’s wardrobes. “Work on impulse– if you like something, save it; if you don’t, just move on. Spend 30 minutes doing this and you’ll be amazed at how consistent your style choices are.”

Collate a pinterest mood board

No Dress Code? No Problem

Sure, minimalist sneakers fly in most establishments these days, but it can still be a bit of a gamble deciding what to wear to a new restaurant or bar if the the dress code isn’t stated on the website.

“It’s a common thing to wonder how formal or casual a place might be, so I’ve got a killer tip,” says Johnson. “Open up Instagram, do a search for the venue and look at the most recently added photos. This will give you an idea of how to tailor your look.”

Keep Your Kicks Fresh On The Fly

A pair of crisp white trainers is one of the modern menswear essentials. They look great, they go with everything, but man, are they a struggle to keep clean.

“Baby wipes are great for giving your shoes a touch-up on the go,” says Alexander McCalla from men’s personal shopping service Thread. “You can’t clean them every time you leave the house, but if you do step in grime, just give them a once-over when you’re back inside.”

Clean white trainers

Skin Tone Hacks

Beetroot face? Don’t wear red. Paler than an albino polar bear? Avoid pastel shades like the plague. Wearing colours that complement your skin tone sounds easy, but if you’re unsure, there’s a quick way to check.

“Hold clothes up to your face in front of a mirror,” says McCalla. “It’s like a buttercup: things that work will make your skin look brighter; the stuff that doesn’t will make you look dull.” Try it with a few different colours and you’ll notice the difference immediately.

Do Away With Stains

Few things in life can bring down a crisp white shirt like an unexpected stain. But whether it’s coffee from a lunchtime meeting or makeup from an affectionate female, there’s still hope.

Foundation: “Foundation is a nightmare, but there are ways to deal with it,” says Deane. “Instantly wipe the shirt with baby wipes, or go to the bathroom and scrub it with soap, using a paper towel or another part of your shirt. The chemicals in the soap dissolve the oil and the grease within the makeup and start to get rid of it.”

Red wine: “Many swear by the old wives’ tale of using white wine to neutralise the stain,” says Gilfillan. “But high-proof alcohol also works by absorbing the pigments that make it red.”

For coffee: “Your biggest weapon is time,” says Gilfillan. “You want to keep the stain wet to stop it penetrating the fibres. Run it under cold water for five minutes, rubbing the stain gently every 60 seconds with soap or detergent.”

You need to move fast with coffee stains

Shave To Save

Bobbles (or ‘pills’, if you want to use the technical term) may seem like only a minor inconvenience, but they’re guaranteed to bring your whole look down. They needn’t spell the end for your beloved clothes, though.

“When clothes get old and bobble, use a good quality razor to carefully shave them off,” says Topman senior stylist Sarah Thow. Just be sure to use this hack sparingly, as repeatedly dragging a blade across your clothes is about as good for your knits as it is your face.

Iron In The Shower

Whether you’re in a pinch or staying away from home, ironing is a luxury not always afforded. If you find yourself caught short, the shower is the next best option.

“Hang your suit and shirt in the room with the shower on, [the steam will relax the fibres],” says Sarah Ann Murray, who has got men like Samuel L Jackson and Chiwetel Ejiofor ready for magazine covers worldwide. “Take it one step further if you’re really stuck and use a hairdryer to reduce the creases further.”

Keep Your Wardrobe Regimented

Most guys are still half asleep when throwing on clothes in the morning, which can make picking a coherent outfit a challenge. But a bit of forward planning can make those frenzied 7am decisions a thing of the past.

“Separate your wardrobe into fashion/trend pieces and everyday basics,” says Thow. “This will make it so much easier to build an outfit.” You could also sort your clothes by type so that all shirts, jeans and T-shirts have their own space, helping you look put together, regardless of whether you actually are.

Keep your wardrobe segmented

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How To Build The Perfect Watch Wardrobe

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If there are two things you can never have too much of, it’s time and style. Which is exactly why, of all the manly pursuits, owning a watch for every occasion is often one that is most rewarding.

For the beginner, building a collection of timepieces can be daunting, so it pays to do some online research first; considering what colours, styles and design functions you like, as well as what is already hanging in your wardrobe.

Helpfully, there are a few common sense rules to follow – like avoiding trends, and never buying a watch simply for the sake of owning it – along with a handful of timepieces that no well-edited wardrobe is complete without.

That’s where Triwa comes in. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to add a new model for smart, casual, business or pleasure, the Swedish brand has got you covered.

Triwa Watches

Founded in 2007 and based in Stockholm, Triwa is a relative newcomer to an industry that prides itself on a prestigious history of quality watchmaking. And that’s exactly the point. The brainchild of four friends, the company’s aim for the past decade has been to change attitudes in the traditional, monopolised world of horology.

The name itself – an acronym of ‘Transforming the Industry of Watches’ – serves as a constant reminder of the Triwa ethos to always place style over status, and make the watch an accessible symbol of good taste and an eye for detail.

Triwa Watches

From a single design, the brand has grown to a range of 10 models (in addition to a line of sunglasses and bracelets) sold across 25 countries, all built using premium materials such as brushed steel and organically tanned Swedish leather.

From classic and elegant to contemporary Scandinavian minimalism, Triwa offers a watch for every style and every occasion.

4 Watches Every Man Should Own

It used to be the case that a watch was for life. However, the changing demands of the modern man mean that one size (or rather, one strap) no longer fits all.

Like your clothes, you need options to be able to navigate every scenario that arises. With that in mind, these are four basic types of watch that should form the backbone of any rotation, and all for less than the price of one luxury Swiss watch, thanks to Triwa.

A Minimalist Watch

Triwa Midnight Falken Watch

No fuss, no gimmicks; a back-to-basics watch is a marvel of modern minimalism. Defined by a stripped-back dial, barely-there hands, simple digits and pretty much nothing else, these designs are quickly becoming the new standard.

But the real bonus of such a sleek timepiece is that while it appears to have only a single purpose – to tell the time, of course – when it comes to style, it’s incredibly versatile.

The Triwa Midnight Falken is our pick: an all-black, 1950s-inspired model capable of serving every outfit, from a dressed-down suit to a simple jeans and T-shirt combination.

A Chronograph

Triwa Loch Nevil Steel Mesh Watch

A popular tradition of quality watchmaking, a chronograph is set apart by a stopwatch function that can measure any amount of time, from a matter of minutes to a whole day.

Though the history of the chronograph is as a functional watch – timing everything from sporting contests to even space travel – it’s also become a staple of high-end brands. Even so, the chronograph’s durability and practical features mean it’s best suited for those days spent outdoors or undertaking physical activities.

The Loch Nevil is Triwa’s spin on the classic chrono, made from sturdy silver steel and featuring an on-trend mesh strap and sturdy 42mm case that’s water-resistant up to 10 ATM.

A Dress Watch

Triwa Ivory Klinga Watch

The dress watch is another masterstroke of minimal design, usually featuring little more than the time and date, without any complications or added features.

Unsurprisingly, this timepiece is best saved for formal occasions, whether that’s in the office or at a black tie event (in other words, any situation that calls for you to be suited and booted). But it’s also ideal for the man who likes to keep his style pared-back and unpretentious.

The Triwa Ivory Klinga is an elegant and refined option that adds some flair to the traditional dress watch model thanks to its ivory white, black and brushed gold colour scheme, subtle indices and unique chevron detailed leather strap.

An Everyday Watch

Triwa Smoky Nevil Watch

Because sometimes you don’t need a sports watch, style item or formal accessory – sometimes you just want a watch that’s relaxed, good-looking and works for day-to-day life.

Casual watches generally have a bit more pizazz, and while some would consider a metal bracelet to be less formal, we like the look of a brown leather strap – a perfect match for denim, T-shirts, knitwear and other casual clothing.

Triwa’s Smoky Nevil ticks all the boxes. The brand’s best-selling model, it’s an everyday watch with added class thanks to a Swedish organically tanned leather strap and handsome dark grey face complete with gold accents.

Shop the full Triwa watch collection now online at triwa.com.

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The Biggest Mistakes You’re Making With Your Trainers

The Biggest Mistakes You’re Making With Your Trainers

The all too common missteps every man should avoid

Image: Adidas

By Murray Clark

As the last thing we put on, trainers are sometimes the last thing we think of. It shouldn’t be this way. A strong outfit is often built from the bottom up, so your footwear should act as the foundation rather than the finishing touch.

Of course, with added focus on your feet comes an even larger margin for error – and many men seemingly aren’t aware of the potential cock-ups with your lace-ups. So, to convey a little kick-centric clarity, we asked the experts to highlight – and fix – the most common mistakes you’re making with your trainers.

Not Matching Your Trainers To Your Outfit

Not all trainers were created equal. Nor were they all created minimal. Sneakers that aren’t of the gleaming white variety – and that’s a lot of them – are far more difficult to pair with your civvies.

Take a tricolour pair of Asics or New Balance. Not only are multiple shades harder to integrate within a single look, a detailed design on a sporty silhouette isn’t a natural bedfellow to tailored trousers. It can even be tricky with denim.

To match your trainers to your outfit successfully, think about the proportion of your look, says Toby Standing from online styling service Thread. “If your style is sleek, slim and tailored, follow suit with your trainers and go for something similar – like a pair of Stan Smiths or Common Projects.”

That doesn’t mean you should eschew colour altogether, though. “Don’t be afraid to opt for a colourway other than the classic white. If you want a more subtle approach to your footwear, try a darker tone, like black or navy, that will look equally sleek but stand out less.”

The relaxation of dress codes at large also gives you more wiggle room down south. “Athletic shapes – like Reebok Classics – are becoming more acceptable to wear with a tailored outfit,” says Standing. “But as these trainers come with excessive design detailing, be sure to keep the rest of your look classic. Your trainers are the most casual component.”

The rule here, of course, is to be realistic. While experimental and directional footwear is popular on the runway, it makes sense to play it safe IRL: Milan Fashion Week isn’t quite the same as your brother’s smart-casual 30th birthday.

How To Match Your Trainers To An Outfit

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Getting Statement Trainers Wrong

Bored of minimal kicks and want to up the ante? As with most statement moves, there are a few ways to get it right – and many to get it oh-so-horribly wrong. Turning the volume up throughout your look is all sorts of Joseph’s technicolour screamcoat.

“Statement trainers are one of the biggest menswear trends of late – with every brand from Zara to Dior muscling in on ‘ugly sneaks’ and ‘dad trainer’ designs,” says Standing. “To wear correctly, the answer comes from the name of the trend itself: statement.”

Which means you let the trainers do the talking. “Keep the rest of the outfit simple. This will allow your trainers to really shine and be the focal point. Think straight- to slim-fit jeans, a classic sweater and the like.” After all, nobody looks good in head-to-toe Yeezy. That includes Yeezy.

How To Wear Statement Trainers

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Backing The Wrong Trend

Loud, colourful sneakers or chunky trail runners are great for confident men who want to stand out. But if you sit on the more conservative end of menswear, know that not all trainer trends are as in your face.

“While some of this year’s trainer trends seem out of reach for many guys, we’re also seeing a return to classic styles,” says Charlotte Austin, editor at Lyst. “The Nike Air Max 98 and Converse All Star One models have been getting a lot of traction this year, pointing towards cleaner, quieter shapes.”

Good news, especially if you want said trainers to meld with your current wardrobe and nail the cost-per-wear ratio. “Don’t expect the same [longevity or versatility] from purple Reebok Instapumps,” says Austin.

Trainer Trends

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Wearing The Wrong Trainers For Your Commute

Misery is: a besuited man on the morning commute wearing trainers last seen in a 1996 aerobics class. Don’t pretend you haven’t noticed them. The slew of guys in good suits and comfortable (read: ugly as sin) sneakers is becoming something of an epidemic – but it’s one that is easily remedied.

“Sunday running shoes are not okay when paired with your work outfit,” says Standing. “You should invest in a pair of trainers that are comfortable, yes, but not suited to a marathon.” That means you go minimal.

“Muted leather sneakers aren’t the best for running, but they will take a load off your feet before and following a long day at the office. Brands like Asics, Nike, Spalwart and New Balance are all great in that they offer comfort that won’t cost a fortune.” Nor will they cost you your dignity.

Trainers To Wear On Your Commute products - commuting

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Wearing The Wrong Trainers To The Gym

Though gym shoes deserve public ridicule when worn on a train, they’re most welcome when worn in an actual gym. Still, it’s too easy to get your kicks wrong for your workout.

“A lot of guys are happy to rock up in an old pair of trainers, assuming it wont make much difference. It really does,” says personal trainer and fitness expert, Patrick McAleenan. “The type of trainer you choose very much depends on your workout, and the level of cardio.”

So the heavier you are on your feet, the more support you’ll need. “Additional heel support and a stable base are great for weightlifting, while extra grip on the edges of the sole can abet lateral movements if you’re focusing on speed and agility training.”

Trainer products - gym shoes

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Not Keeping Your Trainers Clean

You wouldn’t go out wearing a pair of knackered, dirty brogues, so why would sneakers be an exception? Keep your trainers clean at all times, especially if you’re heading smart-casual.

“Minimalist trainers need to be regularly cleaned to maintain a sleek aesthetic,” says Austin. “Wearing dirty trainers to a restaurant or a date is a big no-no, so keep on top of the maintenance.”

It’s no military operation, either. A low spin, low temperature cycle will return your canvas treads to box-fresh quality (pop them inside a pillowcase if you’re worried about damaging the details). If you opted for premium leather or suede, though, clean by hand using a specialist cleaning kit from the likes of Jason Markk or Crep Protect. Then apply a liberal dose of hydrophobic spray – prevention is better than cure, after all.

Trainer products - cleaning

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Not Replacing Them When You Need To

Every Stan Smith has its day. That means, no matter how much you clean, protect or maintain, sometimes, your favourite kicks (with the possible exception of Converse Chuck Taylors) need to meet their maker. And by maker, we mean bin.

Know how to spot the tell-tale signs of decay, says Austin. “If the leather is starting to come away at the seams, or small holes are forming in canvas trainers, it’s time to consider upgrading to a new pair. As long as you’re washing your laces semi-regularly, a quick wipe and polish should be enough to spruce up your existing pair in-between.”

Don’t settle for a different model, either. If your previous kicks were the life and sole of your greatest looks, simply buy another. It’ll be like you were never apart.

Classic Men's Trainers

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8 Embarrassing Male Body Problems And How To Fix Them

8 Embarrassing Male Body Problems And How To Fix Them

Expert-approved solutions to the common issues suppressing your self-esteem

By FashionBeans Editors

If there’s one style ‘hack’ that never fails, it’s confidence. Whether it’s a cobalt blue suit or a Cuban heel, a healthy dose of self-belief gives even the most out-there looks a fair chance at success.

So the last thing any man needs is a niggling body issue putting up roadblocks. Sweaty palms and breath that pongs are public enemies number one and two when it comes to feeling good. So we consulted the experts to find out about the most common conditions plaguing men’s confidence, and what to do to beat them.

Jock Itch

What Is It?

Got an urge to scratch south of the border? Good news: it might not be crabs. Bad news: it might be jock itch.

Otherwise known as tinea cruris, this is a fungal infection of the skin around the groin. About as much fun as it sounds, it’s caused by dermatophytes – the same family of fungi that cause athlete’s foot – and has symptoms which include persistent itchiness, a burning sensation and flaking or cracked skin.

“Jock itch is caused when the normal fungus found on the skin overgrows,” says skincare specialist Debbie Thomas. “Although anyone can get it, it’s common in sportsmen who sweat a lot as the fungus loves a warm, damp environment.”

Man Suffering With Jock Itch

How Do I Beat It?

Don’t worry about accusatory stares from people who think you’re playing with yourself, rest assured you can cure jock itch within a couple of weeks.

“Wash the affected area with soap and water, and dry thoroughly, especially after exercising,” says Thomas. “Wear clean underwear and loose-fitting cotton clothes, and ask your chemist for an anti-fungal cream or powder.”

Jock itch is also very contagious so be careful of sharing towels, clothes and bedding until you’ve had it treated.

The best products for jock itch

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Stretch Marks

What Is It?

They may be battle scars nobly earned for bodybuilders, but for the rest of us, stretch marks are an unsightly set of stripes that we can’t unbutton at the end of the day.

Often found on the abdomen, chest, upper arms, underarms, back and thighs, these marks are the result of the skin stretching due to sudden weight gain (whether fat or muscle) or a growth spurt.

“Stretch marks appear differently coloured because they’re actually tears in the skin that reveal a deeper skin layer,” explains Thomas. “Although initially red – due to tears in the dermis allowing blood vessels to show through – they eventually fade to a silvery colour once the blood vessels have contracted.”

Male Stretch Marks

How Can I Beat It?

Prevention is always better than cure. As well as avoiding rapid weight or muscle gain, look for products rich in vitamin E, which has been found to mitigate marks during body changes.

But if you’ve already been pulled like Stretch Armstrong, there is a way to minimise the appearance of lines. “Aloe vera, for example, is an anti-inflammatory ingredient that’s known to lighten scar tissue,” says Thomas.

In addition to topical products, check the bottle next time you’re shopping for a body moisturiser.

The best products for men's stretch marks

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Erectile Dysfunction

What Is It?

One of the most persistently annoying male body problems, erectile dysfunction (often simply referred to as ED) spoils fun like no other.

“Erectile dysfunction is caused by reduced blood flow to the penis,” says LloydsPharmacy online consultant Dr Tom Brett. “This reduced flow is caused by calcification of the blood vessels brought about by smoking, being overweight and medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.”

In younger men, however, the cause is often psychological rather than physical. Known as performance anxiety, this instance of ED is caused by a fear of not being up to the job, as it were, and isn’t to be confused with the physical inability to get an erection.

Couple Turned Away From Each Other In Bed

How Do I Beat It?

While many ED sufferers turn to medicines like Viagra, there are several lifestyle changes that can temporarily alleviate the issue, and tackle the cause. “Quitting smoking, improving your diet and increasing exercise, as well as getting screened for diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol are very important,” says Brett.

To stop performance anxiety shafting your love life, Brett recommends counselling and relationship therapy as the best options for unpicking the psychological reasons behind the condition.

In any case, it’s best to book some time with your GP, who may even suggest more extreme fixes such as penile injection therapy, vacuum pumps or a surgical re-routing of the blood flow.

Halitosis

What Is It?

Commonly known as bad breath, halitosis will win you no friends. At best, it’s mildly off-putting to your partner, at worst it’s the reason your colleagues give you a wide berth in the morning.

“Halitosis is caused when bacteria break down certain food substances in the mouth, resulting in the formation of foul-smelling gases,” says orthodontist Dr Patrick Grossmann. “The most common cause – as much as 90 per cent – is the collection of bacteria inside the mouth, particularly areas around the gum margins of the teeth and the surface of the tongue.”

To make matters worse, there are certain factors which could be aggravating your halitosis even further, says Grossmann. “Ill-fitting crowns, partially erupted wisdom teeth, root fragments and ill-fitting dentures are all associated with bacterial deposits.”

Man Checking His Breath

How Do I Beat It?

Nix the bacteria, nix the nose-wrinkling breath. “Maintain a meticulous oral hygiene regime including brushing your teeth, flossing and scraping the surface of your tongue with a scraper,” says Grossmann.

It’s also worth pinpointing what causes your halitosis as solving the problem could be as simple as subtracting something from your diet. Foods like onions, cheese, garlic and curry, as well as drinks like coffee and alcohol can all aggravate the issue.

Failing that, book in with your GP or dentist who will be able to investigate the problem further and identify the underlying cause.

The best products for bad breath and halitosis

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Excessive Sweating

What Is It?

Although sweating is for many of us a mere seasonal annoyance, for around five per cent of men worldwide, it’s a seriously confidence-crushing problem.

“Hyperhidrosis is the excessive production of sweat in areas such as the head, hands, armpits, feet and occasionally the groin, back and chest,” says consultant vascular surgeon Professor Mark Whiteley of The Whiteley Clinic.

Although hyperhidrosis is controlled by the same automatic part of the nervous system as breathing rate and pupil size, it can also be influenced by external factors, “particularly psychological effects like embarrassment or fear, hormones, drugs and certain [spicy] foods,” adds Whiteley.

Man With Underarm Sweat Patch

How Do I Beat It?

While avoiding or minimising the effects of factors like heat and spicy foods can help, wearing fewer layers or skipping a curry will do little to stem the tide of severe hyperhidrosis.

“Speak with a hyperhidrosis expert, as it may be that you have a medical condition like hyperthyroidism or carcinoid syndrome,” says Whiteley.

Once those are ruled out, you can elect for treatments such as Botox injections, which block signals between the brain and sweat glands. Or, for an over-the-counter solution, a heavy-duty deodorant designed to turn the leaky tap off.

Best products for excess sweating

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Man Boobs

What Is It?

You know exactly what these are. Moobs. Boobs, but on a man. You might have them already, or could have soon in years to come, so it pays to be clued up.

According to Dr Dennis Wolf at The Private Clinic of Harley Street, a sudden swelling in the chest is the result of two different conditions: gynaecomastia and pseudogynecomastia.

“All males have some degree of breast tissue which can sometimes grow due to fluctuations in hormones (gynaecomastia) and weight (pseudogynecomastia).”

Man Boobs

How Do I Beat It?

The exact cause of your increased cup size will determine the treatment. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available for both.

For breasts caused by an increase in estrogen levels, Wolf explains that there is medication to address the balance as well as surgery ranging from liposuction and surgical excision to remove the tissue. Meanwhile, a ballooning bosom as the result of weight gain can be reduced by small lifestyle changes and regular exercise that focuses on heavy lifting.

In either case, it’s possible to disguise man boobs using clever style tactics such as wearing thicker materials, looking for details such as patch pockets and deploying pattern.

The best men's clothes for hiding man boobs

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Flaky Skin

What Is It?

Dry, cracked, crusty skin that flakes off. Some people get it on their hands and arms, others on their back or even their face. Either way, no one likes leaving little piles their own dead tissue all over the place.

Even if you’ve never suffered from flaky skin, it’s worth being aware of the cause and treatment, because it isn’t just about having a certain skin type.

“Dry and flaky skin can affect anyone,” says dermatologist Dr Anton Alexandroff. “The main causes are dermatitis – which can be either atopic (eczema) or seborrheic (fungal) – and psoriasis.”

Eczema On The Hands

How Do I Beat It?

Unlike generally dry, oily or combination skin, which is a part of an individual’s genetic makeup, it is possible to rid flaky skin.

“If it’s atopic, it’s important to moisturise the skin frequently and avoid soaps and detergents,” says Alexandroff. “If it’s seborrheic, anti-fungal shampoos can be very effective and are available over the counter. For more extreme cases [of psoriasis], medicated topical treatments with vitamin D are needed on prescription.”

In any case, avoid using harsh soaps or other products containing alcohol, which can strip the skin of its natural oils, while remembering to wash with and use moisturising products on a regular basis.

The best products for men's flaky skin and eczema

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Dandruff

What Is It?

Forever looking like you got caught in a snowstorm, even in July? Or spend your days trying to resist the urge to scratch your head? It’s probably time to sort out your scalp.

A fairly common (but no less embarrassing) complaint that affects around one in five, dandruff occurs when skin cells shed at a faster rate than normal, usually as a result of dry skin, sensitivity to hair products or an overgrowth of yeast.

“It can also be the result of seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis,” adds Alexandroff, making the telltale flakes able to appear on your beard as well as your bonce.

Man With Dandruff

How Do I Beat It?

Fortunately for most sufferers, simple over-the-counter shampoos packed with dandruff-fighting agents like zinc carbonate and other ingredients designed to cleanse and moisturise the skin are often enough.

“If these don’t work, there are scalp applications and shampoos available on prescription, and even powerful oral medications,” says Alexandroff.

In the meanwhile, avoid loading your hair up with styling products and swerve the black T-shirt rail until you get the problem under control.

The best products for men's dandruff

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The Key Men’s Style Lessons To Learn From The Military

Military Style Tips All Men Should Know

Attention, these are the key pieces and styling rules to enlist into your own wardrobe

Image: Kent & Curwen

By FashionBeans Editors

War, huh, yeah. What’s it been good for? Absolutely nothing. Apart from, perhaps, shaping practically everything hanging in the male wardrobe today.

The 20th century’s conflicts may have been entirely undesirable, but it’s possible that without them, men would still be trapped in a sartorial straitjacket.

Crew neck T-shirts, chinos, bomber jackets; all infiltrated fashion from the front line, and few are showing any signs of retreating, but there was a time when the two were interdependent.

“It’s more of a two-way street than people realise,” says Amber Butchart, style historian and lecturer at The London College of Fashion. “Centuries ago, when military uniforms were standardised, most of the design came from the fashionable cuts of the time.” The flipside of this was the inspiration those military adaptations then gave back to designers, in New York, Paris and London.

Maybe it’s the timeless, functional nature of the garments that so appeals to men. Perhaps it’s the associations with heroism. Either way, it’s hard to go wrong with military clothing. Which is why enlisting these battle-dress staples is mission critical for your wardrobe.

Menswear Pieces That Started In The Military

The Trench Coat

Men’s fashion and military clobber have been close allies for so long that the origins of individual pieces are sometimes murky. As is the case with the trench coat, with fellow countrymen Aquascutum and Burberry both staking a claim.

“Thomas Burberry was commissioned by the war office to create a piece of outerwear suitable for soldiers on the front line during World War I,” says Butchart, siding with the latter. “He then developed a water-repellent cloth and the trench coat as we know it now came into being.”

Today the sleek, belted silhouette is considered a luxury essential and as such has spawned many variations, including long and short cuts, single- and double-breasted, and even modern colour-pop styles.

The Best Men's Trench Coats

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White T-Shirt

It’s hard to imagine what life would be like if arguably the most iconic menswear item in the world remained nothing more than an undergarment.

“It’s not so much a trending piece as a perennial relied upon by many,” says Henry Wilfrid, a men’s stylist who has worked with brands including Tom Ford, Dunhill and Reiss.

The most classic version of the T-shirt, a short-sleeved white cotton crew neck, first sprung to life as standard issue schmutter for the US Navy and later the army in the 1910s. When the war ended, tens of thousands of soldiers took the fashion home with them. Brando, Dean, Beckham. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Best Men's White T-Shirts

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Pilot’s Watch

Ever since man first took to the skies, watchmakers have been working hard to create a ticker to help him land at his destination on time.

The pilot’s watch is the fruit of their labour. “It’s a great example of function over form,” says Terry Markham, head of buying at WatchShop.com. “The beauty of the pilot design is that it comes in a simple colour palette, is easy to read, is not overtly branded, and wears well dressed up or down.”

One of the most popular choices on the market, the best pilot’s watches are chronographs with features such as unidirectional bezels, lumed hands and are flanked by either a leather or nato strap.

The Best Pilot's Watches

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The Bomber Jacket

Like most military clothing, the bomber jacket was originally developed as utility wear, designed to keep pilots warm in cockpits so rickety and thin that freezing was as much a risk as being shot out of the sky.

Early styles were cut from heavy-duty leather and lined with insulating sheepskin (more closely resembling what is now known as an ‘aviator jacket’), but today it’s more common to see the nylon MA-1 model flying up and down runways.

“The bomber jacket has been a key piece for a few seasons now,” says Wilfrid. “For a more formal interpretation, look out for leather trims or even styles made with a velvet fabric.”

The Best Men's Bomber Jackets

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Chinos

When it comes to trousers that sit slap bang in the middle of smart and casual, you’d be hard-pressed to find a pair that fit the bill better than chinos.

“Before landing on college campuses across the US in the mid-20th century, chinos were built for battle,” says Chris Gove, creative director of British menswear brand Percival. Developed from khakis, which were created as a way to camouflage British troops stationed in India, chinos came crafted from pure twill cotton in a sandy, light-brown shade to provide a hard-wearing and comfortable means of going low-profile during war in dusty places.

“Nowadays, chinos will do little to keep you incognito, but they do offer an updated, streamlined way of nailing Ivy League style, with the same hardy wear.”

The Best Men's Chinos

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Desert Boots

While stationed in Burma in the 1940s, a young Nathan Clark clocked the comfortable suede boots worn by off-duty officers and did what any sane, budding fashion tycoon would have. He said “I’m having that” and went home to put the footwear into production.

More than half a century later, the desert boot is one of the most popular and versatile shoes around.

“It’s the best compromise between smart and casual,” says Daniel Johnson, a stylist who has worked with the likes of Ralph Lauren, Paul Smith and Hermès. “I’d personally look for a pair made of suede rather than leather, styled with selvedge denim jeans or soft cashmere trousers.”

The Best Men's Desert Boots

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The Peacoat

Military menswear doesn’t just come from the skies or dry land, the heroes at sea have provided civilians with countless modern essentials, including the peacoat.

A product of 19th-century nautical attire, this cropped, double-breasted style made inroads into men’s fashion after World War II due to the post-war surplus and subsequent low cost.

“The Navy heritage is why peacoats tend to be navy,” explains Mr Porter US editor Dan Rookwood, who suggests looking for a modern style constructed with a high wool content. “It’ll come with a higher price tag, but the investment will be well worth it.

The Best Peacoats For Men

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Cardigan

As hard as it is to believe, your granddad isn’t the originator of the cardigan. This geek chic classic also has military roots.

“The seventh Earl of Cardigan, James Thomas Burdenell lays claim to its parentage, having commissioned it for British soldiers during the Crimean War,” says Gove. Initial designs were sleeveless vests loosely based on waistcoats, but designs with sleeves soon followed.

The cardigan is now loved for its insulation, not only by OAPs but practically every style tribe and subculture imaginable. If you still need convincing that the cardigan is cool, Kurt Cobain couldn’t get enough of them.

The Best Cardigans For Men

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Combat Trousers

We’re sure cargo trousers came in for a tough ride during World War Two, when British forces relied on their patch pockets to hold field dressings. But that’s arguably nothing compared to what they endured during the nineties at the hands of boybands.

Fortunately, these functional combat kecks have been increasing their rank in recent seasons. “Side patch pockets on tailored casual trousers have been a slow-burning trend for a while, and we’re now seeing them on the high street,” says Wilfrid.

No longer the preserve of weekend dads, designers and brands have worked hard to produce slimmed-down cargo trousers that could easily sub in for trousers on more casual days. Providing they don’t zip-off at the knee.

The Best Men's Combat Trousers

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Style Lessons To Learn From The Military

Go All-Out Green

Even if a traditional military garment isn’t your wardrobe weapon of choice, you can still sign up to military style by utilising its preferred colour palette.

“Shades of green are a key colour trend,” says Wilfrid, no doubt because of their ability to be worn tonally head to toe, or flank everything from black denim when worn as a coat, to a suit when worn as a knitted tie.

Military Green Menswear

mango man gieves & hawkes j.crew burton

Get Suited For War

Fond as we were of our childhood Action Man figures, dressing like one in later life should never be the aim. Remember that military coats, duffles and peas in particular, can join forces with a range of other attire.

“The peacoat is hugely versatile in terms of styling,” says Rookwood. “Its length is longer than a blazer, and it tends to be roomier in the shoulder so can easily be layered over a suit.”

“That said, it also looks slick worn casually with dark selvedge jeans and brown brogue boots.” In short: pick right and you’ll have the armour for all-out smart offence and a more conservative, casual defence.

How To Wear Military-Style Coats

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Pore Over The Details

You don’t need to be a particularly big fan of Michael Jackson (or battle reenactment, for that matter) to know that military garments can be heavy on details.

“These were born out of necessity on the front line,” says Butchart. “Epaulettes were there to hold gloves or caps. While waist straps were originally used to hold grenades or swords.”

Respect the functions, but remember that too much detailing can make an item look more casual. When buying new, favour examples with fewer bells and whistles to ensure they’ll work better with everything in your wardrobe.

Men's Military-Style Coats

j.crew reiss grenfell new look

Go Commando

The first rubber lug soles to hit the footwear market featured a tread design called a ‘Carrarmato‘, the Italian word for tank. So it’s little surprise the hiking-inspired design would soon end up on the feet of foot soldiers.

Today, rugged commando soles aren’t only a way to easily navigate rain, ice and snow, they’re also a way of saluting the forces without straying into fancy dress territory.

“Recently these thick tread soles have been applied to everything from boots to city shoes like brogues and Derbies,” says Gove. “Wear them with a suit or simple trousers and T-shirt combination.” Overdoing it is your enemy here.

How To Wear Commando Boots

river island H&M zara

Keep Those Boots Polished

Military men will go to extreme lengths to get their best boots gleaming, even after a 10-mile hill run in mud bath conditions. So, there’s no excuse for you to have a pair of grubby stompers at the ends of your legs.

“It’s important to look after leather shoes using a spray or protector because leather is a natural product so reacts to the weather and temperatures,” says Kurt Geiger buying manager Robbie Evans. “By treating them, you’ll be able to protect and prolong the natural fibres and overall look and quality for longer.”

If wary about chemicals on your clodhoppers, you can use a natural leather conditioner made from something like beeswax. Massage this into the leather in circular motions whenever it feels dry to help to keep your shoes soft and supple.

How To Wear Military-Style Boots

simons H&M burton

Basic Training

As far as military wardrobes go, it’s all about the basics. Without an army of classics like the white T-shirt, there’s no hope of advancing your style game.

“If you don’t have the basics in your wardrobe already you’ll find it hard to put outfits together,” says Sarah Gilfillan, a stylist and founder of men’s personal shopping service SartoriaLab. “These pieces give a blank canvas on which to add more trend-driven or statement pieces.”

Cover your bases with a well-fitting white tee, sky blue Oxford shirt, grey sweatshirt, quality wool overcoat and some sturdy dark denim.

How To Wear Men's Basics

whitestuff frame massimo dutti zara

Embrace The Tuck

A marine whose shirt-tucking knowhow maxes out at ‘shove it in my pants and hope for the best’ can expect nose-to-nose screaming from a red-faced drill sergeant.

For civvies, however, there’s no such person to keep us in sartorial step. Which means it pays to learn how to do it the right way without prompt.

“The military tuck refers to a technique of tucking a shirt neatly into trousers,” explains Gilfillan. “It’s achieved by pulling the shirt down and tucking in tightly before making a vertical fold at either side of the waist to get rid of any excess fabric.” With no fabric at ease around your waist, you’re good to go.

Organise With Military Precision

Ever wonder how army guys can bolt out of bed with a second’s notice at five in the morning and still look put together? One word: organisation.

“Although it may not come naturally, it pays off to be organised with your wardrobe,” says Gilfillan. “A lot of guys will buy items, then find they have nothing to wear them with. When adding to your wardrobe ask yourself if you can wear something with at least three different things.”

As well as this, consider ordering items in your wardrobe by type, so it’s obvious what your missing in your wardrobe and take some time at the weekend to build outfits for future reference.

An organised closet wardrobe

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Get An Early Look At Some Of The Best Watches You’ll See At Baselworld 2018

Baselworld 2018 Preview: The Most Anticipated New Watches

Watch nerds are getting very excited about these…

Image: Tissot

By Murray Clark

Another year, another Baselworld – it’s the world’s biggest horology love-in, where luxury watch brands unveil their latest timepieces (and flash their chequebooks) from gold-plated booths with a purpose-built aquarium inside.

No, the watch world’s biggest trade fair hasn’t mellowed in recent years – and nor have the wares on offer. As watch nerds of every kind prepare for the onslaught of free champagne and back-to-back meetings, we’ve got an early look at some of the big releases at Baselworld 2018 from the world’s biggest marques.

Agonium ‘In Memoriam H.R. Giger’

Though sadly passing away in 2014, H.R. Giger – the Swiss painter responsible for the iconic design work of Alien – remains relevant today. In addition to an enduring impact upon the film and video game industry, his signature style can now be found on Agonium’s commemorative piece: a beautifully grim automatic hand-worked and casted in silver. Attractive, especially if you like your ticker equal parts robust and terrifying.

Agonium In Memoriam H.R. Giger

Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5367

Legendary watchmaker Louis Breguet arguably made his most accomplished piece way back in 1827: the famed Marie-Antoinette pocket watch. Still, 2018’s Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5367 from the brand that still bears his name comes close.

This impressive piece has placed a complex self-winding mechanism on a diet, losing so many inches as to be housed in a svelte 3mm case. Don’t worry, though: Breguet’s trademark classicism is still very much full fat.

Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5367

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02

TAG Heuer shouldn’t be confined to city graduates. Sure, they cater to that man extremely well, but the brand is also adept at finely-tuned, highly-engineered watches. Case in point: the Carrera Heuer 02.

As an update of a chronograph first devised in 1963, this mechanical watch will be made available in 13 different variants, including steel, carbon, ceramic or gold with a multitude of straps and bracelets. Think CEO, not lowly desk jockey.

TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02

Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet GMT

Though favoured by Putin and co, Blancpain is by no means typical oligarch fare. It’s what’s on the inside that counts. Which, in this case, means 28 rubies, 286 components and a robust calendar complication – all housed within a case that’s more lord of the manor than Siberian oil baron. Still, you’ll probably need Putin’s bank account to clinch one.

Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet GMT

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Moon Black Enamel

Jaquet Droz doesn’t boast the big brand pull of, say, Cartier or Rolex. That’s a good thing. A piece from the Swiss manufacturer – much like the Grande Seconde Moon Black Enamel – is a marker of good and highly-informed taste.

This time, expect a mechanical automatic with a wealth of features upon a black and 22-carat gold dial. And better yet, it’s impressive without the heavy-handed flash seen on the usual suspects.

Jacquet Droz Grande Seconde Moon Black Enamel

Hublot Big Bang Unico Red Magic

Hublot revels in making horology purists see red. So, the left-field manufacturer took it one shade deeper this year. Introducing the Big Bang Unico Red Magic, a collaborative piece with Metallurgy & Materials laboratories, and one created using intense heat and pressure to forge a brightly-coloured ceramic watch. The vibrancy might not be to everyone’s taste, but it gets our green light.

Hublot Big Bang Unico Red Magic

Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic Skeleton

Watches aren’t exempt from the nineties resurgence. Maurice Lacroix launched its Aikon line in 2016, channelling the archives for a timepiece best-paired with a pinstripe suit and some very boxy shoulders.

It’s gone even further for 2018. With a skeleton dial and automatic movement, the new Aikon is a perfect mix of old-school design and modern craftsmanship, resulting in a ticker that can be worn in this decade and the next.

Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic Skeleton

Longines Conquest V.H.P

You can’t be good at everything. Unless, that is, you’re Longines. The Swiss label has created a watch to tempt every single type of wearer – and they do it well. Take the Conquest V.H.P.

Named after its ‘Very High Precision’ quartz movement, this new release is every inch the racecar ticker, with a sporty steel-tinged design and a wealth of accurate, timekeeping functions, including a tachymeter.

Longines Conquest V.H.P

Breitling Navitimer 8 B01

Military watches may be en vogue, but Breitling has kept its head firmly in the clouds with the Navitimer 8 B01. As a new entry to its laudable series of the same name, this pilot’s watch is available in both stainless steel and rose gold with an in-house calibre inside. Which may seem insignificant when compared to your own personal private jet fighter, but Breitling is the next best thing.

Breitling Navitimer 8 B01

Tissot T-Race MotoGP Limited Edition 2018

The words ‘Made In Switzerland’ shouldn’t automatically trigger a bank loan application. Brands like Tissot regularly go au Suisse on the affordable end – even when a limited edition is at play.

The latest T-Race MotoGP collab adds cockpit splendour to a traditional chronograph, with the bezel taking its cue from a brake disc and the bracelet said to be inspired by a racer’s boiler suit. We can’t confirm an official price at time of writing, but it’s sure to cost much less than that Ferrari-Hublot hook-up.

Tissot T-Race MotoGP Limited Edition 2018

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What Is A Taper Fade Haircut & Should I Get One?

The Best Taper Fade Haircuts For Men And How To Get Them

The modern hairstyle sharp enough for both your Tinder and LinkedIn bios

By Paddy Maddison

It was only a generation ago (give or take) that a basin-cut was still a legitimate men’s hairstyle for some barbers. Before the barbershop renaissance in the 21st century, the trade often amounted to a hairy half hour in the chair as someone with minimal training took a hack-it-and-hope approach to your head.

A lot has changed. These days even high-street barbers are capable of creating haircuts akin to artwork, using tools that wouldn’t look out of place in an operating theatre.

Case in point: the taper fade.

This modern haircut element is the perfect mix of classic and contemporary, providing the ideal foundation upon which to build almost any style. As sharp on a LinkedIn bio as it is on a Tinder one, it’s a next-level barbering technique and one that will get you noticed. But just what exactly is it?

Taper Vs. Fade: What’s The Difference?

The first thing to understand about the taper fade is that it is actually an amalgamation of two different barbering tricks – somewhat unsurprisingly, the taper and the fade.

These two cutting methods are similar in that they both offer a way to graduate smoothly between differing lengths of hair. The distinction between the two is that a taper deals with longer hair and sculpts using both scissors and clippers, while a fade is performed with clippers only and is much shorter, right down to the skin usually.

Leading barber Joe Mills, of The Lounge Soho, has a handy analogy to make it clear.

“Think about trousers that taper, says Mills. “They gradually get narrower. So, in haircut terms, a taper is not down to skin but the hair gradually gets shorter. A fade is similar but fades away entirely, hence the term ‘skin fade’. It’s more extreme than a taper.”

What Is A Taper Fade Haircut?

Combining a taper with a fade allows barbers to neatly transition from hair of a significant length, right down to a skin fade with – quite literally – razor-sharp precision. This creates the sort of modern, polished look that would have had the hairdressers of yesteryear scratching at their butchered barnets in astonishment.

What is a taper fade haircut

How Did The Taper Fade Become Popular?

Both tapered and faded styles have had a huge resurgence over the past few years, thanks in no small part to certain period dramas opening men’s eyes to a new (or old) style of grooming.

“It descended from the old days when hair clippers were hand powered and you could only go short,” explains Mikey Pearson, director of Manifesto barbershop. “They would cut along the hairline to create a kind of wedge then blend it in with scissors. If hair flicked out from above the ears you would be classed as ‘scruffy’.”

The taper fade harks back to this, while keeping one foot firmly planted in the here and now, making it the trim of choice for so many contemporary, style-conscious gents.

“It’s a clean, crisp look,” says Pearson. “And thanks to the likes of the Peaky Blinders we’re seeing more and more men asking for it.”

Tommy Shelby Peaky Blinders Taper Fade Haircut for men

Is It For You?

The taper fade is a versatile trim, because it’s essentially a boss-level version of the short back and sides. It can be worn with anything from a short crop to an all-singing, all-shiny pompadour on top. Because of this versatility, it’s a cut that can be adapted to suit most face shapes.

However, if you’re cursed with a boat race longer than Seabiscuit’s and want to try this style, you’re best advised to steer clear of anything with too much height. The close-cut sides and length left on top mean that the taper fade naturally lends the face some additional length. Which, unless you’re deliberately going for the equine vibe, is probably something to avoid.

“The taper fade is suited to most as you can adapt the height and shape of the fade and weight of the blend to suit any client,” explains Tom Chapman, founder of the Lions Barber Collective and ambassador to The Bluebeards Revenge. “If you have a more daring client in the chair you can take the shortest grad up pretty high and leave a heavy blend. You can also leave more weight at the sides behind the ear by creating an arch as your base shape instead of the usual straight shape.”

The Best Taper Fade Styles And How To Get Them

Before you buzz off to the barbers for one of the decade’s defining chops, take a look at some of the style’s most popular variations for a bit of follicular inspiration.

Taper Fade & Short Crop

They say less is more and, looking at the minimalist styling of this particular trim, we’re inclined to agree. It’s perfect for the kind of guy who wants something smart and low maintenance that won’t leave him wincing at old photographs 10 years down the line.

“This style has a very graduated skin-fade from the base up to a longer layer,” explains Mark Woolley, founder of Electric Hairdressing. “The top layer is slightly disconnected from the back and sides.”

Think this might be the cut for you? Woolley always recommends taking a photo along with you to avoid any awkward, post-trim mirror moments.

“You ultimately want to ask for a fading cut with a slightly disconnected top layer which gives you a nice, choppy texture,” he says.

Apply a salt spray or matte clay/paste roughly with your fingers to increase separation and help emphasise the natural, care-free texture created on top.

Men's short cropped haircut with a taper fade

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Taper Fade & Pompadour

If Johnny Cash had been born 60 years later, there’s no doubt that this would be the do he’d be rocking. A perfect blend of old and new, the pompadour is a nod to one of the defining styles of the last century, while the taper fade on the back and sides brings things right up to date.

So, how can you get the look? Again, you’ll want some inspiration.

“A picture is worth a hundred words,” says Mills. “This is doubly true when getting a cut. Take an image in so at least your barber knows what you are thinking. The terminology we use can be confusing and for me the consultation with the client is key.”

Mills adds that the trick to getting the cut right is to know how close you want to go at the back and sides. “Ideally the top should be at least four or five inches longer than at the back and sides,” he says.

“To style it you will need a decent hair dryer and a Denman vent brush,” advises Mills. “This isn’t a wash and go look.

“I recommend a styling mousse on clean damp hair. Evenly distribute a tangerine-sized amount through the hair and then using your brush and dryer, style it back away from the face creating height and direction.” Finish with a strong-hold hair spray if you find your style loses its pomp after a couple of hours.

Men's Pompadour hairstyle with a Taper fade

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Taper Fade & Side-Swept Length

Generally speaking, the graduated back and sides of a taper fade is geared towards shorter haircuts. However, with some clever, asymmetrical styling, there’s no reason you can’t embrace your inner grunger at the same time.

“The key characteristics of this cut are the low fade on the back and sides with a disconnected top,” says Pearson.

“Ask for a low fade, something like a five into a four. Keep the top disconnected, cutting short to long to keep length at the fringe. As always I would recommend taking a photo with you.”

In terms of styling at home, Pearson suggests using a volume spray in damp hair and blow drying upwards. Once dry, he recommends finishing off with a matte clay to add texture.

Men's side sweep hairstyle with a taper fade

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Taper Fade & Short Braids

A few short braids or dreads thrown into the mix adds a nice touch of personality to a taper fade, while remaining clean and smart enough to dress up or down. Highly-experienced barber Joseph Lanzante, who runs his own barbering academy, is certainly a fan.

“A taper fade finished with short dreads on top has become a very popular haircut as it provides a clean and stylish finish to the overall style,” he says.

“To create a clean-cut taper fade, you will need to ask your barber for a grade one cut on the back, fading up to grade two and three. Make sure you keep your hair long on top long to ensure you can create the short dreads that are key to this style.”

Another plus point for this particular style is that management at home couldn’t be easier. Lanzante recommends nothing more complex than coconut oil. Rub the oil through the hair to keep it nourished and moisturised but be careful not to use too much or it could wind up looking oily.

Short braids for men with taper fade sides

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Why It’s Time To Reconsider The Pinstripe Suit

Why You Should Own A Pinstripe Suit (And How To Wear It)

The banker’s uniform no more, you don’t have to do Wall Street to look money

Image: L.B.M. 1911

By Tom Banham

Picture pinstripes and you probably imagine them wrapped around a braying financier, with a phone cradled against each ear and a lady of negotiable affection perched on his lap.

The pattern’s been the unofficial uniform of bankers since the 1980s, serving as silver screen shorthand for avarice and sociopathy in Wall Street, American Psycho and The Wolf of Wall Street. Tony Montana even met his end in a chalkstripe three-piece.

British bankers birthed the style in the 19th century, though back then they were more interested in blending in than standing out. Banks each had their own stripe, varying in shade and weight, that identified who worked for which.

But after they were adopted by the Chicago Cubs baseball team in 1907, then stolen (and made more famous) by their rivals, the New York Yankees, they took on a more maverick air.

The Brits had worn pinstripes only on their trousers, but in the US, gangsters went for whole suits, a boldly patterned middle finger to the pursuing, funereal feds. Movie stars like Clark Gable, eager to cultivate an outlaw aesthetic, followed suit.

Pinstripes were worn by glamorous, womanising men. Then suddenly, by anyone who wanted to be considered glamorous and womanising, even if they worked in insurance. The elan went and pinstripes became try-hard plumage.

In other words, they were perfect for finance’s alpha male bastions of bad taste, who adopted them in the 1980s as a sartorial dick swing, amplified by a double-breast cut and scarlet braces. For anyone who didn’t judge someone’s worth only by the size of their pay package, they were too gauche for words.

The Crash And Recovery

Until 2008, that is, when the bankers destroyed everyone else’s life savings and demand for power suits collapsed as quickly as Lehman Brothers. No one wanted an outfit that telegraphed your responsibility for the worst financial crisis in living memory.

That made pinstripes ripe of reinvention. In the decade since, designers have tossed out traditional tailoring and treated pinstripes like any other pattern. They’ve appeared on everything from overcoats to T-shirts and had a particular boom in the #menswear days, when Pitti’s peacocks took them in a louche, deconstructed direction.

As moods have shifted, you’re more likely to find today’s pinstripes on a pair of cord-tied joggers than anything with shoulder padding. “They’re a modern take on a classic, worn in a hybrid way,” says Topman buying director, Rachel Morgans. “These days you can wear a pinstripe trouser with a casual T-shirt and trainers.”

Not that the pinstriped suit is dead, it’s just different. “It’s down to the cut and colour combinations. The finer details,” says Alexander McCalla, stylist at Thread. “If you change the fit, break it up or wear it with trainers, it can look interesting.” The banker suits were defined by hypermasculinity: strong shoulders, an exaggerated chest and narrow waist. So just do the opposite. “Dress it down. Try an unstructured, Italian-style jacket with a soft shoulder.”

That said, there are some men who should avoid pinstripes entirely. All that up-down movement means beanpoles look even longer, although shorter guys can use that effect to their advantage. “Narrower pinstripes makes you look taller,” says McCalla. “If they’re further apart, like with a chalkstripe, you look wider.” LeBron, take note.

Recent history means that, for those who do actually work in finance, some connotations are almost unshakeable. No matter how Milanese your shoulder, people will still assume you’re an arsehole.

Finally, if you’re the kind of man who emailed tailor David August after Conor McGregor wore one of his suits, on which the pinstripes were in fact the words ‘Fuck You’ stitched in gold thread, then you clearly can’t be trusted to wear them properly. Best sit this one out.

5 Modern Ways To Wear A Pinstripe Suit

Avoid contrast-collar shirts, and pinstriped suits are surprisingly versatile. Here’s how to make yours feel sharp, not fancy dress.

Merge And Acquire

The pinstriped navy suit has taken a battering over the last couple of decades. But it’s a classic, and unlike the financial industry, classics don’t let a few bad apples ruin something for everyone. You just need to think different. “If you wear a three-piece suit with a grey pinstripe, you’ll look like a banker,” says McCalla. Instead, lose the waistcoat and play with your fit.

The look you’re going for is nonchalance. Old pinstripes were a power statement; modern pinstripes are anti-authoritarian. Brighter shades of blue feel sunny (and inappropriate on trading floors), particularly if you lose the socks and swap silk ties for linen.

Better yet, lose the collar and noose entirely to divorce yourself from the office. “I personally like breaking classic rules and clashing stripes and prints together,” says Morgans. A geometric knit conveys fashion confidence, not cocaine-for-lunch arrogance.

L.B.M. 1911 Pinstripe SuitL.B.M. 1911

Brunello Cucinelli Pinstripe SuitBrunello Cucinelli

Break Up The Banks

The easiest way to wear a pinstripe suit is not to wear one at all. “Originally, trousers were the only thing that a man would wear that were pinstriped,” says Alexander. “And they still work really well with a block-colour blazer.” The split suit is tougher to pull off in reverse; pinstripes are so associated with suits that people will think you’re just wearing the jacket and had to change out of the trousers.

The separates approach is inherently more relaxed, so lean into that aesthetic by breaking every rule on the Morgan Stanley dress code: white trainers, not black shoes; a shirt that looks best without a tie (try a button-down, polo or crew neck); and a sense of decency and respect for your fellow man.

How to wear Pinstripe TrousersMango

How to wear Pinstripe suit Trousers on their ownSuitsupply

Clean Up

Gordon Gekko’s more is more philosophy extended beyond his bank account. As well as pinstripes, he leaned into accessories, draping himself in power ties, hot pink pocket squares, collar bars and cufflinks you could see from the top of the World Trade Center. This season, you should ditch it all if you want to pull off pinstripes.

“A pinstripe suit over a plain T-shirt [or roll neck], with nothing else going on, looks really clean and refined,” says McCalla. It’s a stripped-back aesthetic that works best with an equally minimalist pattern; think tonal pinstripes on grey tailoring rather than anything too flashy.

CERRUTI 1881 Pinstripe SuitCerruti 1881

Hugo Boss Pinstripe SuitHugo Boss

Hostile Takeover

All that being said, it is still possible to wear pinstripes without being a wallflower. Recently, brands like Haider Ackerman, E. Tautz and Topman Design have blown up the pinstripe, switching from fine lines to zebra stripes. “We’ve also seen textured and metallic yarns that give a contemporary update,” says Morgans.

These disruptive patterns come bundled with new shapes, from wide-legged trousers to safari jackets, which riff on tailoring’s traditions. “Brands that have a suiting heritage are able to innovate in ways that respect the culture and background,” says McCalla. “They’ve got the authority to mix it up.”

These wilder looks aren’t even appropriate for business-casual offices, which means you can have fun everywhere from head to toe; try accessorising with chunky trainers and a beanie or baseball cap.

Zara Pinstripe SuitZara

Topman Pinstripe SuitTopman

Old Money

Greed isn’t good, but the classic pinstripe suit look can still work, whether you’re a City boy or just want to mix up your officewear rotation. A sober pinstripe in a dark navy still looks smart and sophisticated when all the constituent parts are done right.

Keep the wide, starched collar and perfectly dimpled tie, but tone down the Gekko impression by switching uniform Oxford shoes for something more casual like a loafer or monk strap.

Also keep your accessories, well, recessive. Pick a pocket square or a tie bar, not both. If you’re going double-breasted, you don’t need any embellishments. Okay, maybe a business card with Silian Rail lettering, Patrick.

How to wear a double-breasted Pinstripe Suit with a shirt and tieHackett

How to wear a pinstripe suit in a modern wayMassimo Dutti

The Brands That Do Pinstripes Best

Topman

As well as its excellent range of affordable tailoring, in which you’ll find slim-fit and skinny pinstripe suits that no Canary Wharfer could ever pull off, there’s also Topman’s envelope-pushing Design arm.

The brand’s directional wing takes a wild approach to striped tailoring, with cut-up shirts that clash vertical lines together, belted suits you might wear in the world’s best-dressed prison and contrast waistcoats that twist the idea of a three-piece into new shapes.

Affordable pinstripe suits for men

topman Navy And White Stripe Muscle Fit Suit Trousers - click to buy TMD Light Grey Stripe Blazer - click to buy Blue Retro Striped Revere Shirt - click to buy

Mango

The Wall St look is more than a little stuffy for the Spaniards, so it should be no surprise to find Mango’s take on pinstripes skew casual. Think unstructured blazers and chore jackets with big patch pockets, looser-legged trousers and shirts that are better unbuttoned than corporate chokers. The chalkstripe lines are softer, too. If your annual bonus is taking you to the sun, this is what to pack.

Pinstripe shirts, jackets and trousers for men

mango Stripe textured jacket - click to buy mango Chalk-stripe trousers - click to buy mango Striped unstructured blazer - click to buy Mongo Regular-fit striped overshirt - click to buy

Ralph Lauren

For those who prefer their tailoring more traditional, Ralph Lauren cuts a fine line in not-quite-banker suits. Yes, you can get double-breasted navy pinstripes and yes, they come with a strong, no-nonsense shoulder.

But you’ll also find less structured preppy cuts, alongside trim and slim, modern updates on the 1980s classic. Perfect if you work anywhere other than a bank, but still want to bring a bit of that high-roller lifestyle to the office.

Ralph Lauren Pinstriped suits for men

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Brooks Brothers

This titan of American tailoring gives you everything you’d expect if you have a Jordan Belfort-sized budget for your tailoring. The pinstripes are narrow and subtle, slicing through 100 per cent wool, hand-sewn suits with canvas construction.

And if you’re heading to the Hamptons for the weekend, the firm will kit you out seersucker pinstripes that are every inch as immaculate, if a lot less formal.

Brooks Brothers Pinstripe Suits for men

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Lardini

Italy is a nation more adept at fine tailoring than high finance, so it’s perfect for a suit that nails the former without shades of the latter. Lardini’s pinstripes are everything commodities traders aren’t: soft, refined, relaxed, and a pleasure to spend time with.

Its pinstriped blazers in particular are so unstructured they could double as a cardigan, particularly since the patterns are picked out in sumptuous shades of ocean blue. It’s the kind of suit a banker might wear once he’d sold up and retired to Tuscany.

Lardini Pinstriped suits and sports coats for men

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Suitsupply

The disruptive Dutch tailoring brand has a handful of navy pinstripes, but it also does a version of its youthful suits in white, light grey and brown. All of which tip things more modern. Equally interesting is its range of fabrics: alpaca, cashmere and linen offer unexpected texture and a level of depth you won’t find in finance.

Suitsupply Pinstriped tailoring and suits for men

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About The Author: Tom Banham

Tom Banham - Jocks & Nerds Deputy Editor

Jocks & Nerds deputy editor Tom Banham is an outerwear addict with bylines in GQ, Men’s Health and Mr Porter.

He’s fascinated by the collision of high fashion and streetwear, but also knows his way around a soft-shouldered blazer. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @banham_tom

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Watch Geeks: What Is A Tachymeter And How Do You Actually Use It?

What Is A Tachymeter Watch And How Do You Use It?

Gentlemen, start your watches…

Image: Tudor

By Chris Hall

You’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s only in the last 10 years that watches got smart. Calorie tracking, GPS, wifi-enabled poo emojis… it’s been a period of rapid wristed development. But all this didn’t start in the 21st century. Watches – proper, mechanical watches – have been helping us measure the world since the 1800s.

A watch with a tachymeter scale is a prime example. It’s a numerical scale either printed around the edge of the dial or engraved into the bezel and it lets you measure your average speed over a known distance. (They also increase the testosterone on your wristwatch by at least 100 per cent.) You could technically use one on a standard time-only watch, but for proper use they need the ability to start and stop timing, so you pretty much only see them on chronographs.

And they date back almost as far as the chronograph; 19th century pocket watches with a tachymeter scale are fairly well documented. Certainly by the 1930s, several brands were producing wristwatches with tachymeter scales, as well as the other two main measurement scales that can be added to a chronograph: a telemeter for measuring distance and a pulsometer for measuring a patient’s heartbeat.

Until the advent of digital calculators the tachymeter represented – in theory, at least – a practical and functional tool, assuming you or your co-pilot could operate it accurately enough at 80mph. As the golden age of motor racing began, in the late 1950s, and the chronograph became a must-have sports watch (think Carrera or the Rolex Daytona), the tachymeter migrated to the steel bezel and took on a technical, instrumental aesthetic that it has retained ever since.

To this day, a tachymeter has the power to make your chronograph feel innately more useful. And hopefully, by the time you’ve finished reading this, it’ll be more than just macho ornamentation.

How To Use A Tachymeter

So, the question you’re waiting for us to answer: how do you actually use a tachymeter? It’s a lot simpler than it might look, and all depends on the basic relationship between speed, distance and time. As you’ll no doubt remember from school maths lessons (stay with us!) if you know any two of those, you can work out the third.

A tachymeter is designed primarily to calculate speed – by measuring the time it takes you to travel a known distance. So it stands to reason, if you’re trying to work out your speed with a tachymeter, you need a reliable distance to work from. Mile markers on a highway work perfectly, but in their absence you can work from other distances – you’ll just have to do some mental calculations at the end. Resist the urge of your maps app…

Omega Speedmaster Professional with Tachymeter

How To Measure Speed

Start the chronograph as you pass your starting point, and stop it when you’ve travelled the distance you’re measuring over. The seconds hand will be pointing at the tachymeter scale: read it off and that’s your average speed.

The neat thing about the maths behind a tachymeter scale is that it works in exactly the same fashion no matter what you’re measuring. The thing to remember is your units of speed and distance have to match. If you measured your time over a mile, it gives you your speed in mph; the same is true for kilometres.

Omega Speedmaster Chronograph with Tachymeter

If you’ve measured your speed over a longer distance, there are a couple of things to bear in mind. If it takes more than a minute, your chronograph probably won’t give you a number to work with – only a few tachymeters have a scale that doubles round past 60. So that means you either need to be going reasonably fast, or measure your speed over a shorter distance instead.

For example: measuring your speed over 100m; if that takes a sprinter a highly respectable 10 seconds, your chronograph seconds hand will be pointing at 450. But he hasn’t run the race at a speed of 450km/h – you need to divide that by 10 (1km being 10 x 100m). Therefore, your athlete actually travelled at an average speed of 45km/h. That sounds more like it.

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Similarly, you could be measuring your speed over three miles – let’s say you’ve got reliable markers for that as your Eurostar speeds between Calais and Paris. It takes 58 seconds, which gives you a readout from the tachymeter bezel of 62. But you need to multiply that by three, to account for the longer distance, meaning you’re actually clicking along at an average of 186mph.

A note on accuracy: your measurements are only going to be as sharp as your timing – starting or stopping the chronograph half a second early or late will have an impact on your calculation. But down at the more realistic end of the spectrum – say, under 200mph (and we’re going to assume you’re still on the Eurostar here), it’s possible to be reasonably accurate. The slower you’re going the more accurate your measurement should be – as you can tell by looking at the scale.

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Measuring Distance

It’s not quite the intended purpose, but you can use a tachymeter in reverse to measure distance. You will need to be sure you’re travelling at a constant speed though; a tachymeter only measures average speed so to use it in reverse, your speed needs to remain the same for your measurement to be accurate.

Assuming that’s so, start timing. When the seconds hand lines up with your speed, then you’ve travelled a mile (or a kilometre, as before). And also as before, you can double this or halve it as you like.

Measuring Other Things

Perhaps not as applicable to the average chronograph owner, unless you happen to be conducting a time-and-motion study of your local factory, you can also use a tachymeter to measure production of anything over a given period.

Simply stop timing when one unit has been produced, or painted, or whatever it is. The readout from the tachymeter tells you how many of those can be done in an hour.

The Best Tachymeter Watches

Rolex Daytona

One of the ‘holy trinity’ of 1960s sports chronographs, the Daytona would be a different watch without its tachymeter bezel. Over time, the details have changed, and are some of the easiest ways to tell different Daytonas apart. Examples include adjustments to the calibrations of the scale, and a shift from displaying the numerals horizontally to radially; most recently, the Daytona 116500LN received a ceramic upgrade to its bezel, making it more resistant to scratches.

Rolex Daytona

Omega Speedmaster 57

If you’re after a chronograph that’s built for practical use, the Omega Speedmaster is about as good as it gets. The layout is one of the clearest, and in its purest form, there’s precious little ornamentation.

This reissue of the very first Speedy, from 1957, is faithful to the original and stands out for its broad arrow hands. Tachymeter-wise, it also reverts to the engraved steel bezel rather than the more common white-on-black of the Speedmaster Professional – the one that NASA took to the moon.

Omega Speedmaster 57

TAG Heuer Monza

TAG Heuer’s pedigree in motorsport chronographs is second to none, and the Monza is one of its coolest models. Revived in 2015, this all-black version boasts a tachymeter scale as you would expect, but with a useful extra.

Working on the sensible logic that you’re unlikely to be timing cars at speeds over 200mph, TAG Heuer has used the space between 0 and 220 on the tachy scale to add in another measurement scale: a pulsometer. This – a simple variation on the same maths behind a tachymeter – lets you measure someone’s heart rate. Count 15 beats, then stop the chrono: your seconds hand reads off their pulse in beats per minute.

TAG Heuer Monza

Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby

We’re all familiar with the partnerships between watch brands and carmakers – but in all honesty, some of them are starting to feel a little well-worn. Not this one. Baume & Mercier joined forces with the Shelby Motor Company a few years ago, and while the watchmaker may not have been known for its sporty side, the resulting models have been well received.

They balance the automotive cues (Shelby’s Cobra head on the seconds hand; racing stripes across the dial) with stylish chronograph legibility. And of course, that extends to a tachymeter scale in yellow around the edge of the dial.

Baume & Mercier Capeland Shelby

Sinn 910 Anniversary

German watchmaker Sinn isn’t the flashiest, or the best-known, but it has a deserved reputation for bomb-proof, practical watches at prices that put others to shame.

The 910 Anniversary chrono is about as flamboyant as Sinn gets, but it’s on our list primarily for functional rather than aesthetic reasons. It’s one of very few chronographs to combine a tachymeter scale with a split-seconds function, which means it can time consecutive intervals. Ideal for, say, logging times and average speeds across both laps of a two-lap race (with a little more mental maths at the end).

Sinn 910 Anniversary

IWC Ingenieur Chrono ‘Rudolf Caracciola’

In 2016 IWC began the process of reverting its Ingenieur to a round case shape, away from the Gerald Genta inspired but overly bulky integrated designs of the 2000s. This was one of the first models in the new case, and remains the pick of the bunch; a special edition to honour Rudolf Caracciola, one of the most celebrated Mercedes drivers of the 1930s.

It’s tachymeter scale takes the unusual step of splitting the numerals with a marker for more precise measurement. Good for accuracy, and a bit of a brave decision stylistically.

IWC Ingenieur Chrono Rudolf Caracciola

Bremont Jaguar Mk II

Bremont produces a lot of chronograph models, but in keeping with tradition, only brings a tachymeter bezel to the overt motoring models found in its collaboration with Jaguar. The Mk II chronograph takes its design cues from E-type dashboard instrumentation (fun fact: back in the day, these were actually made by Smiths, the last company to produce watches in England on a serious scale).

Bremont has never been one for chunky bezels, outside of the Supermarine dive watches, so here the tachymeter scale is printed around the edge of the dial.

Bremont Jaguar Mk II

Breitling Navitimer 01

Breitling’s Navitimer has been around since 1953 and is a true icon among watch designs. The signature feature is the use of a ‘slide rule’ bezel: a freely-rotating outer scale numbered 10-100 surrounds a fixed inner scale numbered 0-60. The third, innermost scale is actually the tachymeter, one of few that counts all the way down from 750 units per hour.

What the Navitimer bezel lets you do is convert miles to kilometers, (or nautical miles to statute miles) once you’ve taken your speed measurement. Further down the road, you can also use it to calculate your fuel consumption, and if you’re getting bored, conduct long multiplication.

Breitling Navitimer 01

Tudor Black Bay Chrono

Tudor’s Black Bay Chrono split opinion when it launched in 2017; turning a dive watch into a racing chronograph and keeping the iconic snowflake hands (big enough to obscure the chronograph subdials almost completely) rankled with some. But it’s a handsome overall package, and Tudor knows that’s what matters most, to most.

It has a particular appeal if you’re looking to capture a little bit of that Zenith-era Rolex Daytona vibe, as its engraved steel tachymeter bezel bears close resemblance to its 1980s sibling.

Tudor Black Bay Chrono

Christopher Ward C7 Rapide Chronograph Quartz

If you’re looking for a tachymeter chronograph at a sub-£1000 level, your options are not great; most look cheap and plasticky. Almost inevitably, your chrono is going to be quartz-powered at this price level, but if you can live with that, Christopher Ward’s C7 has a more grown-up look in the vein of classic motoring watches of the 1960s and 1970s.

The tachymeter itself is extremely discreet, but it is there, on a thin strip in either black or silver around the outside edge of the dial. We’d avoid the slightly heavy steel bracelet models and go for the aged tan leather strap.

Christopher Ward C7 Rapide Chronograph Quartz

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